This spring, Sustainable Tompkins will be hosting four conversation salons on the topic of climate change.  You can learn more about each topic by reading our weekly Signs of Sustainability column in the issue of Tompkins Weekly that comes out the same week as each salon.  You can also explore the topic by checking out some of the books, articles, and videos in the list below.  The list isn’t comprehensive of course, nor curated, but you can find a starting place at least for learning more about each session’s topic.

For those interested in learning about climate change, we invite you to scroll through a slide presentation on Global Warming Basics created by ST Board member Dick Franke and his wife Barbara Chasin.  Feel free to share with others who perhaps haven’t had the time to get familiar with the evidence and the chemistry of global warming.

April 17 Salon:  Why are we stuck in climate denial?


Worst-Case Scenarios.  Cass R. Sunstein.  2007.  Harvard University Press.  Steering a path between willful inaction and reckless overreaction.  Looks at differences in how we respond to threats of climate change vs. terrorism (cognitive availability, probability neglect, and outrage all affect how we react).

The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture.  Mary Pipher.  2013.  Riverhead Books.  Explores the trauma-to-transcendence cycle and the widespread difficulty humans are having in emotionally coping with climate change.  Chapter devoted to the psychological structure of denial as a part of the grief response.

Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life.  Kari Marie Norgaard.  2011.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Denial versus Indifference, Apathy, and Ignorance.  Study of attitudes toward climate change in Norway and U.S.  Explores the social organization of denial – how we interact, our norms for politeness.  Denial as emotional response to information that is too disturbing to be integrated into daily life.

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand.  Haydn Washington and John Cook.  2011.  Earthscan.  Explores nature of climate denial via conspiracy theories, fake experts, misrepresentations and logical fallacies, impossible expectatios, and cherry-picking of data.  Looks at history of organized denial of effects of tobacco, acid rain, ozone hole, DDT, and climate change.


Why Smart People Deny Climate Change.  David Berreby.  6/5/12  Big Think Smarter Faster blog.

Elegy for a Country’s Seasons.  Zadie Smith.  4/3/14  The New York Review of Books

The Aliens Have Landed.  Mark Bittman. 4/1/14  New York Times

Loss and Climate Change: The Cost of Parallel Narratives.  Rosemary Randall.   September 2009. Ecopsychology.  Paper proposes that tasks of mourning provides an appropriate model both for developing a culture of truthfulness, leadership and appropriate support and for developing practical programs that would help members of the public work through  acceptance of changes that may threaten aspiration, culture, security and identity.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Years of Living Dangerously – a Powerful, Impactful Series – if We Make it So.  Peter Sinclair.  4/7/14


Moral Power for Climate Action.  Whidbey Institute Climate Collaborative.  April 2013.

Hope in a Climate of Denial.  Dave Wolfe and Lauren Chambliss.  2/26/14   Soup & Hope Lunchtime Series at Sage Chapel, Cornell University.

The Uniquely Human Illusion of Species Royalty: A Climate Change Perspective.  Dave Wolfe. 9/10/13.  Department of Natural Resources Seminar, Cornell University.

Years of Living Dangerously Interview and Audience Discussion.  4/3/14  Center for American Progress’ Reel Progress Film Series.